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The Weaver and the Factory Maid

The Weaver and the Factory Maid

4.6 5
by Deborah Grabien

Haunted by the ghosts of characters memorialized in their songs, a pair of lovers must uncover the truth behind the ghosts' deaths.

When Ringan Laine, British folk musician, becomes the owner of a restored eighteenth-century cottage, he discovers right away that the cottage and the ancient barn on Ringan's property are haunted.

Ringan and his longtime


Haunted by the ghosts of characters memorialized in their songs, a pair of lovers must uncover the truth behind the ghosts' deaths.

When Ringan Laine, British folk musician, becomes the owner of a restored eighteenth-century cottage, he discovers right away that the cottage and the ancient barn on Ringan's property are haunted.

Ringan and his longtime lover Penny, researching the identity of their unwanted tenants, learn that they were a young couple, victims of a famous double murder in the year 1817 - their story the subject of a song that is a staple in Ringan's repertoire. And they must stage a full-scale musical exorcism to lay the ghostly couple to rest.

The Weaver and the Factory Maid is only the first in what promises to be an exciting new mystery series features the ghosts of characters in folk ballads.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A cozy series based on folk ballads with ghosts may be good in theory, but in her mystery debut, Grabien, the author of a couple of mystical fantasies (The Eyes in the Fire; Plainsong), offers too little plot and a less than engaging protagonist, the self-centered Ringan Laine. An English musician and architect, Ringan specializes in restoring old houses. After he obtains a life interest in a West Country barn and cottage from a defaulting client, he discovers that the former building is haunted by the ghost of a lovelorn weaver, the latter by the spirit of the girl the weaver loved. The deceased make their presence felt to Ringan and his hearty girlfriend, Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes, who enjoin others to help lay the ghosts to rest. The only mystery here, given away on the back of the galley, doesn't amount to much by conventional crime standards. Handselling to folklore fans and New Agers may help take up the slack left by disappointed mystery readers. Agent, Jennifer Jackson at DMLA. (Dec. 8) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
British folk musician/house restorer Ringan Laine lucks into ownership of a restored 18th-century cottage and much older tithing barn in Somerset. From day one, he realizes the place is haunted: debilitating cold spots, the scent of lavender, strange visions, etc. With the help of actress/lover Penny and others, Ringan identifies the characters haunting the site, victims of a notorious double murder in 1817 and subjects of a ballad Ringan's music group plays. Allowing the spirits to rest comes next. Filled with charm, personality, and wit, this is the first entry in an intriguing new series featuring the ghosts of characters in old English ballads. Strongly recommended for most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nineteenth-century ghosts whose story is enshrined in a folk ballad haunt a British country cottage. When a cash-flow problem prevents stuffy Scots land baron Albert Wychsale from paying laid-back Ringan Laine, musician and sometime carpenter, for renovation work to Wychsale House, Ringan, currently renting a London flat, accepts free lodging in the cottage and barn behind Wychsale House (called Lumbe's) as payment. Blasts of cold air and other strange phenomena give Ringan pause, but not till arrival of his longtime ladylove Penny (a theatrical powerhouse who produces, directs, designs, and plays leading roles in her productions) and Jane (a fellow member of the Broomfield Hill Quartet) does he conclude that there's a ghost or two in residence and begin to take action. Consulting local historical records, they find evidence of a horrible crime. In 1817, young George Roeper went berserk when he saw his sister Betsy spooning with local weaver Bill Corby and murdered both the lovers, she in the barn and he in the nearby river. The story of Betsy and Bill, which comes from a ballad the ghosts sing, provides a title, the first in a proposed series based on folk ballads. Although unthreatening ghosts produce low-voltage thrills, pastoral warmth and sunny prose from Grabien (Plainsong, 2000, etc.) entertain.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Haunted Ballad Series , #1
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.76(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Deborah Grabien lives in San Francisco, California.

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The Weaver and the Factory Maid 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Part mystery, part ghost story, this story of a young British folk musician encountering a tragic love story from long past will charm and delight!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not a bad story; no mystery, really, but a fairly engaging fable. However, the characters' dialogue is so verbose and stilted! I found myself cringing almost every page. Ms. Grabien, envision yourself speaking this way to another person and you'll see what I mean. (Warning: the other person may well tell you to knock it off...)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Grabien writes books that are literate without being pretentious and accessible without being dumbed- down. She's a joy to read and deserves a wide audience. I bought one copy of 'Weaver' for myself and have ordered seven more: a spare to go in the guest room (so I can let people borrow it without worrying about getting it back) and six copies to give to friends and family as Christmas presents.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I think I'd describe it as a sort of gentle ghost story. There were definitely chilling moments, but the ghosts are a part of the tale rather than the great yawning evil at the end. The spirits aren't two dimensional boogiemen under the bed. They're complex and interesting, and so are our heroes, Ringan and Penny. One thing I liked about it was how comfortable Ringan and Penny's relationship is--it brought to mind Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence stories--and how comfortable they are with one another. However, a really great part of this story is that each character is uniquely him or herself. The characters are very strongly individual. Grabien has a deft hand with characterization. If you like stories that give a goosebump or two, but aren't gory or splatter-horror, I think you'll like this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Due to a cash flow problem, caused by loans and an energy investment, Scottish land owner Albert Wychsale cannot pay in money the house restoration debt he owes folk musician Rupert ¿Ringan¿ Laine. Instead he gives the Brit free lodging in the eighteenth century Lumbe¿s cottage near the restored Wychsale House.

Ringan and his girlfriend theater producer and actress Penelope Wintercraft-Hawkes move in their new abode. Quickly they feel cold air and other eerie phenomena that lead the duo and their pal Jane to conclude the house is haunted. They research the official and unauthorized historical records until the trio learns of the 1817 homicide. George Roeper killed his sister and her lover when he saw them lying down together. How to allow the ghosts to find rest is what the three humans struggle to achieve.

THE WEAVER AND THE FACTORY MAID is the first tale in a series based on popular ballads. The story of Betsy and Bill is fun to follow, but if readers expect Spielberg¿s Poltergeist or Straub¿s Ghost Story, they need to turn to the originals. Instead, this novel is an amiable tale about three nice humans trying to help spirits move on. Fun and original, but no scares with this fine plot.

Harriet Klausner